Tanner got ready for the Class 2A playoffs by completing a second-half comeback and defeating Class 1A opponent Waterloo 21-20 in the regular-season finale Friday night.
The Rattlers trailed 20-7 at halftime but held Waterloo scoreless in the second half and got two third-quarter touchdowns to take the one-point victory.
Tanner closed the regular season winning four out of its final five games and finished with a 6-4 record. The six wins this season are more than Tanner had in the last three seasons combined.
Waterloo scored first to take a 6-0 lead, but Tanner took the lead on a touchdown run by Evan Fuqua and extra point by Isaias Rios.
Waterloo came back strong in the second quarter. The Cougars scored two touchdowns to go up by 13-points but, critically, failed on the extra point after their third touchdown, which would come back to haunt them later.
Tanner came out of the halftime break on fire. Alex Guster cut the Waterloo lead to six points with a touchdown run, and Fuqua put the Rattlers ahead with his touchdown run later in the quarter followed by Rios’ extra point.
That was all the Tanner defense needed, as the Rattlers held Waterloo scoreless in the second half, thanks in part to the efforts of Fuqua, who had 14 tackles and an interception.
Fuqua had 72 yards rushing on 11 carries with two touchdowns, while Michael Guster led the team with 152 rushing yards on 11 carries. Alex Guster had 57 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Karl Parham completed four passes for 50 yards, with Skylar Townsend having 46 of those yards on two catches.
Tanner, the No. 4 seed from Class 2A, Region 7, will travel to take on Region 6 champion Spring Garden in the first round of the playoffs Friday night.